LANDOVER, Md. — Kirk Cousins wasn’t about to be upstaged by a Vikings castoff.
In his much-ballyhooed return to Washington, Cousins’ Vikings fell behind by 10 points in the fourth quarter Sunday at FedEx Field. But they rallied for a 20-17 win over the Commanders, going ahead for good on Greg Joseph’s 28-yard field goal with 12 seconds left.
It was the sixth straight win for Minnesota (7-1).
Cousins was playing at FedEx Field for the first time since he signed a free-agent deal with Minnesota after playing six seasons in Washington (2012-17). But he was outplayed for much of the game by former Vikings quarterback Taylor Heinicke, who threw two touchdown passes in the second half to give the Commanders a 17-7 lead early in the fourth quarter.
But the Vikings got a 25-yard field goal by Greg Joseph with 10:46 left to cut the deficit to 17-10 — on a drive that included a 47-yard pass from Cousins to Justin Jefferson. Then Harrison Smith intercepted a Heinicke pass and returned it 35 yards to the Washington 12. That led to a 12-yard touchdown pass from Cousins to Dalvin Cook, which tied the score 17-17.
Cousins completed 22 of 45 passes for 265 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He gave Minnesota a 7-0 lead with 9-yard touchdown pass to Jefferson on the opening drive before the Vikings’ offense went cold.
Heinicke completed 15 of 28 passes for 149 yards with two touchdowns and and an interception.
With the Commanders trailing 7-3 early in the third quarter, Heinicke threw a 49-yard touchdown to Curtis Samuel to put them up 10-7. On the play, back judge Steve Patrick accidently banged into safety Camryn Bynum, costing the Vikings a possible interception.
Heinicke later threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Dax Milne with 14:14 left in the game for a 17-7 Washington lead. But the Vikings then scored the game’s final 17 points.